Easter Devotional Day 3: Faith of the Heart
“In the morning, as Jesus was returning to Jerusalem, he was hungry, and he noticed a fig tree beside the road. He went over to see if there were any figs, but there were only leaves. Then he said to it, “May you never bear fruit again!” And immediately the fig tree withered up. The disciples were amazed when they saw this and asked, “How did the fig tree wither so quickly?” Then Jesus told them, “I tell you the truth, if you have faith and don’t doubt, you can do things like this and much more. You can even say to this mountain, ‘May you be lifted up and thrown into the sea,’ and it will happen. You can pray for anything, and if you have faith, you will receive it.” -Matthew 21:18-22 (NLT)
Jesus needed nourishment when He noticed a nearby fig tree. He knew the tree was in season to produce much fruit. Yet He found only leaves.
Jesus’s reaction in cursing the tree reflected more than just annoyance over physical hunger. The religious people of Jesus’s day professed an expectation of the Messiah, but they did not receive Jesus when He came. As students of the ancient prophets and Scripture, they knew the truth and said all the right things, but their eyes were blinded and their hearts hardened toward the One who fulfilled prophecy and the law. Like the leafy-green fig tree, their faith looked healthy on the outside, but their lack of fruit exposed a diseased root.
The same is true today. Many people claim faith in God, and perhaps even say the right things, but their actions do not reflect a connection to the True Vine. Despite outward appearances, they become uprooted without the power of Jesus in their lives. The trials and disappointments of life cause their faith to wither. Perhaps like the disciples, we marvel at how a once lush tree instantly becomes a dry stick when confronted with the truth of Jesus.
In the final days of His life, Jesus uses a dead fig tree to teach His disciples a fruit-bearing faith. He instructs them to set aside doubt and believe in the power and promises of God. He tells them that whatever God promises will happen because nothing is impossible with God. He encourages them to pray with faith, believing that they will receive. When genuine faith replaces hypocritical piety, even mountains will be cast into the sea!
For Further Reflection:
Do you believe that nothing is impossible with God? Is there an area of your life where you may be externally professing faith with your words, but internally your heart still struggles with doubt?
Jesus, please help me to abide in You, the True Vine. Please show me how to pray with faith, believing that You will fulfill Your promises to me.